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    Operation Bowie Strike Confirms Interoperability Excellence

    Operation Bowie Strike

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Farina | KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East, Southern Command Post MI-8 helicopters piloted...... read more read more

    Kosovo Force, Multinational Battle Group-East, executed the Operation Bowie Strike combined training exercise, Jan. 19, 2018, at a KFOR training site in Zhegoc, Kosovo.

    The training involved a mixed multi-ship airlift conducted by the MNBG-East, Southern Command Post who piloted three UH-60 Black Hawks and the KFOR, Croatian Aviation Detachment who piloted two Mil Mi-8 Helicopters. They inserted MNBG-East, Forward Command Post U.S. and Polish Soldiers who tactically navigated through challenging snowy woodland terrain and seized several buildings occupied by opposing forces role-players. Blank ammunition and universal training munitions were used to make the training as realistic as possible.

    Operation Bowie Strike provided an opportunity for MNBG-East to conduct core mission essential task list training while deployed in a NATO peace support mission. The exercise is a combined effort that provides a realistic training opportunity for the FCP, SCP, and MNBG-East headquarters, explained Maj. Rick Caldwell, the MNBG-East operations officer.

    The exercise demonstrates not only what the United States can do but also the multinational partners within the KFOR team, said Lt. Col Kevin Taylor, the MNBG-East, FCP Commander. It indirectly serves as a deterrent factor for those sources of instability or actors that may try to undermine the institutions of Kosovo.

    “It was awesome,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Walker, MNBG-East, SCP UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and air mission commander for Operation Bowie Strike. “It was actually my first time flying with the Croatians. They’re professionals. It’s really good working with them.”

    Walker, who piloted the second chalk, said the mixed multi-ship formation coming into the landing zone looked great and the snow-covered ground was not a factor for the helicopters when landing for the troop insertion.

    It became FCP’s show as Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and Polish Coy infantry units exited the helicopters and regrouped behind a wood line north of the target objective to establish their ground tactical plan.

    FCP’s mission was to seize three buildings within a village from an enemy force that was about 15 to 20 strong, said 1st Lt. Bart Jeffrey, a platoon leader for MNBG-East, FCP.

    The units proceeded south toward the village, navigating through snow-covered ground, thick woods and small streams.

    Once within assaulting distance, the U.S. Soldiers donned their gas masks to protect their faces from the UTMs which are non-lethal training rounds that leave colored markings on impact and can be fired from various weapon systems. The Polish Infantry Coy wore ballistic eyewear and covered their faces with a thick fitted mask.

    They threw smoke grenades and moved in to seize the first target building.

    “We breached a window that the OPFOR had no idea we could actually use,” said Jeffrey. “They had no idea where we came from.”

    Sgt. Devon Clark, an MNBG-East, Task Force Military Police desk sergeant who role-played as one of the OPFOR confirms Jeffrey’s observations of FCP’s elusiveness.

    “We really didn’t see them until it was already too late. I know they had some recon patrols hidden somewhere in the wood line and on the hills, but they hit us by surprise. We didn’t even see it coming,” said Clark.

    FCP Soldiers secured the first building and established suppressing fire on the other target buildings, Jeffrey described. The suppressing fire gave freedom of movement to the Polish Coy and a U.S. squad element as they maneuvered to seize the remaining target buildings.

    When the smoke cleared and the sounds of gunfire stopped, FCP had successfully secured the area, ridding the village of the OPFOR.

    Jeffrey praised the U.S. and Polish partnership for their fluid interoperability.

    “I really love working with the Polish. They are a really professional army and I hope to get to work with them soon because they know what they are doing,” said Jeffrey.

    Taylor credited Operation Bowie Strike’s success to the teamwork and support from MNBG-East as a whole.

    “It was a great training event but it takes all those people working together to make it happen,” said Taylor with pride.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.19.2018
    Date Posted: 01.26.2018 08:56
    Story ID: 263351
    Location: ZZ
    Hometown: FAYETTEVILLE, NC, US
    Hometown: LITTLE ROCK, AR, US
    Hometown: TUPELO, MS, US

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